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Math

Submission + - Historian: Mass violence to erupt in 2020, mathematical pattern suggests (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: Historian Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut, has assumed the role of the world's biggest bummer with his recent prediction that widespread violence will erupt worldwide sometime around the year 2020, as profiled in this recent feature in Nature. What has many people worried is that he's backing up this premonition with a mathematical formula, known as cliodynamics.

Turchin is credited with coining the term cliodynamics, which is the study of historical mathematical data like population figures and global economic performance to identify patterns of similar behavior. Turchin's studies point to a cycle in which society at large becomes engulfed in widespread violence every 50 years.

The current pattern dates back at least to 1870, when economic disparity in the U.S. led to urban violence, and follows the 50-year cycle to the anti-Communist fervor and race riots around 1920, followed by the political assassinations, terrorist attacks and domestic violence in 1970, Turchin told Nature. By that logic, Turchin believes we should circle the year 2020 on our calendars as the year when we start locking our doors.

Government

Submission + - How the new 'Protecting Children' bill puts you at (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering H.R. 1981, a bill that would order all of our online service providers to keep new logs about our online activities, logs to help the government identify the web sites we visit and the content we post online. This sweeping new "mandatory data retention" proposal treats every Internet user like a potential criminal and represents a clear and present danger to the online free speech and privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans.
Government

Submission + - Murdoch's Drone at The Daily Might Be Illegal (forbes.com)

nonprofiteer writes: The News Corp iPad newspaper has a drone they've been using for news gathering — mainly flying it over disaster zones in N. Dakota and Alabama. However, FAA regulations on drones are mighty restrictive at the moment, and they're not to be used for commercial purposes (tho law enforcement is free to let them fly). FAA now examining Daily's use of its drone. Could set a precedent for how private businesses can use them.
Data Storage

Submission + - eBay Deploys 100TB of SSD, Cuts Rackspace By Half

Lucas123 writes: "eBay's QA division was facing mounting performance issues as related to its exponential growth of virtual servers, so instead of purchasing more 15K rpm Fibre Channel drives, the company began migrating over to a pure SSD environment. eBay said half of its 4,000 VMs are now attached to SSD. The changeout had improved the time it takes the online site to deploy a VM from 45 minutes to 5 minutes and had a tremendous impact on its rack space requirements. "One rack [of SSD storage] is equal to eight or nine racks of something else," said Michael Craft, eBay's manager of QA Systems Administration."
Piracy

Submission + - RIAA, MPAA recruit MasterCard as Internet Police (myce.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Two weeks ago, MasterCard felt the wrath of Anonymous Operation Payback-style DDoS attacks after refusing to process payments that were intended to fund WikiLeaks, the website which began leaking confidential US diplomatic cables last month. Now, the company is preparing to head down another controversial path by pledging to deny transactions which support websites that host pirated movies, music, games, or other copyrighted content.

MasterCard lobbyists have also been in talks with entertainment industry trade groups, including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and have made it clear that the company will support the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), sources close to the talks have said.

Censorship

Iran Suspends Google's Email Service 436

appl_iran writes "Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service." From the short WSJ article that is kernel of this Reuters story: "An Iranian official said the measure was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government." Funny way to go about that. Updated 20100211 9:54GMT by timothy: Original link swapped for a more appropriate, updated one.
Google

Submission + - A Google blunder: the sad story of Urchin (arstechnica.com)

Anenome writes: Google has a track record of buying startups and integrating them into its portfoilo. But sometimes those acquisitions go terribly wrong, as Ars Technica argues has been the case with Google's 2005 purchase of web-analytics firm Urchin Software Corp. 'In the wake of Google's purchase of the company, inquiring customers (including Ars Technica) were told that support and updates would continue. Companies that had purchased support contracts were expecting version 6 any day, including Ars. What really happened is this: Google focused its attention on Google Analytics, put all updates to Urchin's other products on the back burner, and rolled out a skeleton support team. Everyone who forked over for upgrades via a support contract never got them, even though things weren't supposed to have changed. The support experience has been awful. Since the acquisition, we have had two major issues with Urchin, and neither issue was solved by Google's support team. In fact, with one issue, we were helped up until the point it got difficult, and then the help vanished. The support team literally just stopped responding.'
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Major Linux hardware donor is a CNN "hero" (archive.org) 1

christian.einfeldt writes: "James Burgett of the Alameda County Computer Resource Center calls himself a "tattooed freak" and a recovering drug addict, but CNN is calling him a hero (video) for diverting tons of computers from landfills, installing Ubuntu Linux on them, and giving them out to schools, non-profits, and poor people. Burgett's filmed interview is currently leading a CNN contest among videos of "ordinary people" whom CNN considers every day heroes, narrowly edging out the video of a man who is saving gorillas from extinction. In his CNN interview, Burgett points out that the people working for him are also recovering drug addicts or recovering mental illness patients."
The Courts

Submission + - How should I have responded to RIAA lawyer? 10

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The RIAA's lawyers are a bit jumpy these days since their standard "making available" boilerplate was rejected by the Court in Interscope v. Rodriguez. But I still never expected, when I initiated a dismissal motion in Elektra v. Schwartz, that they would be reaching out to me , of all people, for help. But so they did, asking me "in the interest of efficiency... what precisely Defendant contends is lacking from Plaintiffs' Complaint for Defendant to consider it sufficient. Perhaps Plaintiffs may be able to satisfy these alleged deficiencies and spare both parties additional and unnecessary motions practice." Unfortunately my response was not very helpful; I couldn't think of anything better than to say, more or less, that "Plaintiffs have no case whatsoever against Ms. Schwartz, and their case against her was frivolous in its inception. Accordingly, there are no facts they can allege that will satisfy the plausibility standard." On reflection, I'm feeling kind of guilty that I didn't give them a more creative, and helpful answer, and I thought to turn to my friends at Slashdot, who are (a) almost always helpful, and (b) always creative. What would you have said?"
Space

Submission + - The Challenge of Cheap Orbital Access (colonyfund.com)

SupRspi writes: Colonyfund.com has an interesting article on the challenges of the private sector space race. The article is called When Physics, Economics, and Reality Collide: The Challenge of Cheap Orbital Access and features some good information on the often disregarded realities of achieving reliable LEO costs below 1000$ / lb. such as insurance and regulatory requirements.

From the article:

"Engineering problems are only part of the difficulty of achieving a price per pound of less than $1,000 to low earth orbit (LEO). Insurance and range costs can each cost more than $1,000 per pound if no effort is put into reducing them. Achieving low cost to LEO also requires solving problems associated with the economic limitations of chemical rockets, lack of business planning, and failure to identify a workable path that will take us from an immature to a mature launch industry. A mature launch industry would exhibit low cost to LEO and significant flight rates by reusable vehicles with long lifetimes. When today's factors, limitations, and reality denials are combined, we believe that they prolong the difficulties of achieving low cost, routine flights to LEO. In other words, we end up inadvertently supporting the status quo."

Education

Submission + - Student Attacked After Dropping Cake (infowars.net) 17

An anonymous reader writes: "School security guards in Palmdale, CA have been caught on camera assaulting a 16-year-old girl and breaking her arm after she spilled some cake during lunch and left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning it up. The girl, Pleajhai Mervin, told Fox News LA that she was bumped while queuing for lunch and dropped the cake. After being ordered to clean it up and then re-clean the spot three times, she attempted to leave the area out of embarrassment but was jumped on by security who forced her onto a table, breaking her wrist in the process."
Privacy

Submission + - Police issue Death Threats to Man with Camera 9

An anonymous reader writes: Cops in St. Louis have taken objection over a local man filming their abuses of power, and have responded with death threats, and stalking. The guy they're harassing installed a pretty neat video system in his car after having received a speeding ticket that he that was unfair. What he ended up catching on tape was far worse than a speeding ticket. Luckily the news has picked up on it, so he is probably out of immediate danger.
United States

Submission + - Texas Lawmakers Steal Votes (youtube.com) 4

absentmindedjwc writes: "It appears lawmakers in Texas frequently walk around the house floor casting votes for members who are not at their seat. Some members are seen on video casting as many as 4 votes. One member goes on camera to justify this practice as necessary in order to allow fellow house members time for lunch and personal time.

Watch the video and determine for yourself if you think these people are doing this as a "favor" for their colleagues, or if they might just be stealing votes."

Movies

Submission + - JJ Abrams Find his James T. Kirk (iesb.net)

Anonymous Coward writes: "After months of speculation, industry chatter is indicating that JJ Abrams has found a front runner for his new James T. Kirk. We have been hearing his name for weeks but in the last couple of days the rumor has picked up steam with tips from several inside sources. The IESB has been told that 28-year-old Pennsylvania native Mike Vogel (Poseidon, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is the front runner to play James T. Kirk in the 11th Star Trek film."
Censorship

Submission + - Verizon bans pro choice texting

fermion writes: The NYT is reporting that Verizon has banned text ads based on controversial content. While many would agree that, as a private carrier, Verizon have every right to so do, there are other concerns. For instance, from the article, "The dispute over the Naral messages is a skirmish in the larger battle over the question of "net neutrality" — whether carriers or Internet service providers should have a voice in the content they provide to customers." What makes this more interesting is these are not push messages, but messages requested for one time delivery by the customer. If Verizon is going to play Big Brother and censor customers content, perhaps that is one more reason to move to AT&T, even if it does not provide equal service.

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